Alyssa Cole has been publishing novels since 2014, but When No One is Watching is the first book of hers that I’ve read.
After doing some research, I see that Alyssa Cole has written a lot of series and short stories in a variety of genres, but most have traces of American history, including When No One is Watching.
This story is told from two perspectives: Sydney, a black woman living in her mother’s brownstone apartment; and Theo, a white man living with his girlfriend in a recently purchased apartment across the street.
Mostly, the story is through Sydney’s eyes, and you learn about her struggles, her history, and at points, her mental stability. You question her sanity.
Sydney is paranoid of just about everyone in the neighbourhood, and as the story progresses, you realize this is rational given her circumstances.
Theo, on the other hand, seems to land himself in one bad situation after another. He’s trying to be a better person, but doesn’t always make smart choices.
You don’t know whether to root for him or not, and by the end, you begin to question his loyalties as well.
On Wanting More from No One is Watching
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it. I did find the content difficult at times. Racism is a hard topic to read.
I was appalled at the behaviour of the rich white people, not just their actions, but the way they speak to people. “I’m better than you because I have money” is something I’ve witnessed a lot in my life… but “I’m better than you because of my skin colour” is hard to stomach.
I tried to put myself in Sydney’s shoes. What would I do? What would I say? And really, what choices do I have?
Next, I would put myself into Theo’s shoes, and ask myself “how can I support Sydney better?”
This book stuck with me, because quite frankly, these are questions I should ask myself always.
If you like the suspense/thriller genre, this is a good read. I am a little disappointed in the end, however. I wanted just a little bit more, and maybe the historical tour that they talked about throughout the entire novel, that would have been good to see as well.
Overall, great read… I just wanted a more fleshed out ending…
If you’ve read When No One is Watching, I’d love to hear your opinion in the Facebook group!